WASHINGTON - In an unusual twist, the National Black Chamber of Commerce has inserted itself into the US Supreme Court's deliberations concerning Anna Nicole Smith and her estate.
Lanny Davis, former special counsel for President Bill Clinton, who helped write the amicus brief on behalf of the Black Chamber of Commerce said the issues at stake in the Stern v. Marshall estate case are key to defending the constitutional rights of civil litigants in state courts.
"Drastically expanding the authority of specialty courts, which lack legal expertise or appropriate evidentiary procedure, infringes on the rights of individuals to a fair and fully heard case," said Lanny Davis. "Shifting legitimate claims in matters of privacy, gender bias, gay rights and civil rights to bankruptcy courts – or any other specialty court – could allow for the usurpation of Article I courts' authority and potentially violate minority litigants' rights to due process.
"This is a truly unique case that appeals to even the extreme opposite ends of the political spectrum. The Justices have a rare opportunity to set binding legal precedent on the authority of state and federal courts versus specialty courts appeasing those on both the Right and the Left."
Harry Alford, President at NBCC, added, "Here at the National Black Chamber we are dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities, something that may be jeopardized if this case sets precedence for uncertainty. Therefore, Stern v. Marshall highlights the importance of maintaining the long-held tradition of allowing state and federal courts – who are constitutionally empowered to rule broadly on a variety of issues – to hear cases involving potential violation of civil rights."
The National Black Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of African American communities. The goal of the NBCC is to sustain African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the U.S. and via interaction with the Black Diaspora. The NBCC was incorporated in Washington, D.C. in March 1993, represents 95,000 Black-owned businesses, and provides an advocacy that reaches all 1 million Black owned businesses in the U.S.
For a copy of the brief, CLICK HERE